Friday, October 29, 2010

Suspected Molester Caught on OC Bus Video

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Canadian Security Magazine: Surveillance in the Workplace

An employee who worked for an inter-city bus company complained that his employer was using 22 video cameras installed in a city bus depot to monitor and manage employee performance.1 The employee claimed there were no signs or notices in the bus depot advising employees or the public about the video surveillance. The employee alleged that his employer was collecting individuals' personal information without their knowledge or consent.

...(more of article)

Friday, October 22, 2010

SEPTA: Man Steps Up A Women Pulls Gun on Bus

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ACS-Xerox Develops School Bus Stop Arm System for Manitoba Schools

Officials in some Manitoba school divisions are pushing for the province to install new, technologically-savvy cameras on school buses to snare motorists who fail to stop when the vehicles are picking up or dropping off children.

A study done by the Seven Oaks School Division over 16 days in June showed that 65 drivers didn't stop for school buses that had their stop lights and boom arms engaged.

Now, division officials and those in the Interlake School Division say that data shows it's time for a crackdown to safeguard school kids.

"It's a very scary thing, that's what it boils down to," said Ken Krulicki, transportation director of the Interlake division. "When you're talking about kids and kids' lives, it really hits home.

'Kids expect and parents expect that children are safe crossing the road.'-Brian O' Leary
"Our fear is that at some point, if we don't get the word out and people don't start to respect the whole process, we're going to end up with a fatality."

"It's a real concern. I think that when we put the stop sign out we expect the traffic will stop. And kids expect, and parents expect, that children are safe crossing the road," said Seven Oaks division superintendent Brian O' Leary.

It gets worse from a driver's perspective, he suggested.

"Our drivers are reporting 40 to 50 reports a month to the City of Winnipeg police on motorist violations," O' Leary said.

O' Leary said school officials have come up with a solution by working with the same U.S. company that owns and maintains red-light cameras and mobile photo-radar in Winnipeg.

Dallas-based ACS has developed a camera system called CrossSafe that is installed on the front of school buses.

The cameras, which record video continuously when the stop boom arm is deployed, are meant to be turned over to police so they can issue tickets.

Passing a stopped school bus with its signals engaged carries a $655 fine in Manitoba.

The company says the video is watermarked with time, date, GPS coordinates and other information needed for proving the violation. The bus driver simply notes the time of the violation and gives investigators the information.

Jon Butcher of ACS helped design the cameras and said five Canadian school divisions have used them in pilot projects.

There is no cost to the school division to have the cameras installed, according to Butcher.

"We think that we can recoup our costs possibly as a percentage of the fines that are paid. So what we can do is eliminate the capital costs for clients," Butcher, a former police officer said.

"In this day and age, capital funding is not exactly available [for school divisions]," he said.

The company also said in a news release regarding the system that school divisions and districts could share in the revenue generated by tickets.

"As part of the program, school districts can receive rebates from the fines collected from the offenses, which can be used to invest in current or new student safety programs," the company said.

But O' Leary said what's been confusing is how to get the provincial government's attention and get the cameras installed.

"It's actually frustrating because you don't know exactly what process you should follow through to get this process implemented," he said.

"But once this is in place, if we are correct in our assumptions, it'll raise the profile so much that every driver will be aware that it's just not a good idea to pass a bus when it's loading or unloading.

"And that's our ultimate goal," O' Leary said.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Augusta City Buses to Get Security Cameras

Monday, October 04, 2010

Worth 1,000 words: School districts split on school-bus cameras

The East Moline School District is considering joining six other Rock Island County school districts that equip their school buses with video cameras. Districts that have bus cameras said they serve as a deterrent and provide a record to resolve allegations.

East Moline acting superintendent Kristin Humphries plans to recommend the school board purchase cameras for a third of the district's 33 buses after he concludes research on options and possible insurance breaks. A digital system costing $25,000, or about $2,275 for each of 11 buses, is one possibility. All buses might be equipped later.

Mr. Humphries' goal is to replace the now defunct VHS tape systems with a three-camera digital system that will provide clear audio and color visual recordings that will be stored on a secure hard drive accessible only by administrators. Mr. Humphries said the district buses have been without cameras since the VHS units "started dying a slow death" two to three years ago.

The new system would place a camera near the driver at the front of the bus, one in the middle and another at the rear. The cameras being considered would not record outside of the bus, but Mr.Humphries said he has been told bus drivers are very interested in having a camera that could record vehicles that do not heed the bus' stop arm.

"For everybody's benefit we would like to get some cameras on our buses," Mr. Humphries said. "It comes down to a funding issue."

Administrators from the Silvis, Carbon Cliff-Barstow, Riverdale, Rockridge, Sherrard and Rock Island school districts all shared similar reasons for valuing school buses equipped with cameras.

Silvis superintendent Ray Bergles said he considers the extra $350 tacked on to the cost of each bus leased by the district for cameras is like insurance, something worth paying a little more for for peace of mind later. The district has eight or nine buses equipped with digital cameras and a couple outfitted with older and lower quality VHS systems. Because the buses are leased, the district gets the newest camera systems available when the three-year contracts are renewed.

"It helps with student discipline. It also helps with making sure that bus drivers are following procedures," Mr. Bergles said. "If somebody says a bus driver did this or didn't do that, you can go to the video. A picture is worth a thousand words."

Mr. Bergles said the cameras, which record at the front of the bus, are typically reviewed when there's a problem and occasionally spot checked. He said they've come in handy for both student and staff issues, particularly during one incident when a driver was accused of acting and speaking inappropriately toward a student.

"It was great because we were able to see everything and hear everything,"Mr. Bergles said. "It totally exonerated the bus driver."

Rockridge transportation director and junior high principal Mike Ruff said 12 of the district's 32 buses have camera systems, which cost between $900 and $1,300 per bus Those that don't have cameras have hardware installed so one could be placed any time it is needed.

"We rotate them around routinely, especially if there is a situation we are trying to monitor,"Mr. Ruff said.

Like Rockridge, Illinois Central School Bus, which serves the Rock Island-Milan School District, rotates its two to three buses with cameras as needed to respond to issues that may need monitoring or routes that may be problematic, according to ICSB assistant manager Jackie Maynard.

"It's not a tool that Ilike to rely on for discipline,"she said. "It is a tool to help target or know what's going on. If you're having trouble, it helps you identify who and what."

Administrators of the Hampton and Moline school districts said they do not have bus cameras now and are not interested in adding them. Hampton superintendent Tom Berg said the district's bus routes are short and he doesn't think the expense is warranted to outfit the two buses operated by Pinks' Bus Service.

"We don't have the type of trouble on our buses that would need cameras," he said.

United Township superintendent Jay Morrow said the cost of equipment and software has prevented the district from adding cameras, but the district may consider purchasing them in the future.

What Rock Island County school districts have school bus cameras?

Silvis, which also serves Carbon Cliff
Rock Island-Milan

No Cameras
East Moline
United Township